Given that this month we had world mental health day on the 10th of October and world suicide prevention day on the 10th of September, I figured I might write on both these topics. We are fighting battles. We are all going through things. Agreed that the suicide rate in Namibia is alarming, this might be the time to address the fact that, the pandemic has affected all of us in many different ways. As such, how we react to those things when they pile up is as well different. It is also of paramount importance to note that during the ongoing pandemic, the consequences all took a toll on everyone.
As such, unfortunately, some of our loved ones have lost the battle of depression to suicide. Because during this pandemic, some of our loved ones were dealing with toxic family members. Some of them were dealing with modules that have been showing them flames since the dawn of time, and many of them were dealing with unemployment. The burden of not being able to provide for their families, especially in this pandemic, while looking at your degree every day yet you don’t have a job,
is very draining. Thus, with all that we are going through, when someone finally loses the battle of depression to suicide, we are caught back and often find ourselves asking if we have done our part in making sure they knew and felt our presence in their lives. It is also at this point where we ask ourselves whether we have been there for them. However, there isn’t really much we can do as individuals, but offer them the right help through professionals.
We also need to do away with the assumption that people who lose the battle of depression to suicide, never sought help. It’s not always the case, because getting out of your mind to exist is such a difficult task. Sometimes, even with the amount of help one gets, it’s just not enough to give you the extra push to move on. It’s a difficult space to be in. The fact that that was the last resort the person took, just shows they were really tired and in a bad space. When this happens, we are often quick to blame ourselves. However, that shouldn’t be the case because it has nothing to do with you as either a friend or relative having checked on them a million times in a day, or skipping a day where you didn’t. Depression is so complex that you just never know the space you’ll wake up in on any given day.
It is also important to note that depression comes in different forms. Yes, depression can look like someone who is happily in love and preparing for their wedding, but still be fighting an internal, invisible war. Or someone who is always checking up on people, and constantly saying they are fine.
It could also be a student that has distinctions. In the end, suicide is often the manifestation of a long fight and a lot of pain.
I know that depression is a foreign concept within most black communities, especially with men. As such, we need to do better with creating a space for men to speak up about their emotions. Create safe spaces where people from black communities can openly talk and educate each other about depression and its causes.
If you are going through something, please do seek professional help. There is only so much your ordinary close friend can do to help you. The numbers below are readily available to assist you and their services are free. There is no shame in seeking help; we all deserve to live outside our heads. You are important, you are needed, and you will be fine, with the right help.
-Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.